Have you noticed that most people ‘root for the underdog?’ It must be the human inclination to beat the odds, no matter how absurd or improbable it is. This seems to apply to so many aspects of our lives. When it comes to football, fans naturally want Tom Brady to lose (unless you’re a Patriots fan of course). When the 2008 Patriots played against the Giants with an unprecedented undefeated record, I can recall most of the sports fans I was with rooting for his defeat. That defeat did indeed come. Why would so many people want him to lose? He’s proved to be the best by capturing six Super Bowl rings.
Hollywood loves to capture the rise and victory of the underdog as one of it’s featured themes. Take the classic ‘Rocky’ for example. An uneducated and unknown boxer from the slums of Philadelphia gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. It’s a ‘rags to riches’ story that not only had people on the edge of their seat but had them cheering for Rocky to become the champ, despite all the odds against him. These are the stories that we gravitate to and cherish.
Yet I believe there’s more to rooting for the underdog just for entertainment purposes. There’s a natural desire within each of us to have victory over our circumstances. Although the odds may be against us, and there seems to be no hope, we cling onto what little faith we do have to muster up the strength, courage, and resolve we need. We view sports and movies through the lens of inspiration to keep pressing forward when our backs are against the wall. We may not know the answers, but we do not want to give in and give up. Why?
You are meant to be an overcomer.
Don’t simply take my word for it… take what the Word of God says!
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:1-5
This verse speaks of who we are in Christ – our identity. Because of what Christ has done for us on the cross, this is the truth of who we are. In other words, this is our position as sons and daughters of the King (1 John 1:3). We are overcomers!
Yet when I look at certain aspects of my life, this doesn’t always seem to be my reality. I look at circumstances and I become a victim rather than gaining the victory. My attitude can become one of hopelessness and pessimism. Although intuitively I know I am an overcomer, my actions and my words do not always line up with my beliefs.
Perhaps you have felt the same way in an area of your life. Worry can cause you to toss and turn at night. Fear can leave you stuck and now your feeling spiritually dry. Depression comes when you least expect it and it seems to linger longer than expected. Maybe you’ve read passages on being an overcomer and have trouble believing it because you simply don’t see it.
That is why I don’t think the problem necessarily lies with our position as an overcomer because that is the truth of who we are. Rather, it’s walking out that belief day by day in victory. We have trouble practically living out the overcoming life.
So… how do we do it? How do we become overcomers?
- STRENGTHEN YOURSELF IN THE LORD
“When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep”…“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters – 1 Samuel 30:4-6a
Talk about a low point! David had been running for his life by king Saul and now his own men want to kill him! He’s been in a foreign land for over a year, with no extended family and no friends. Now the little that he does have – including his men and their families – seem to be taken from him at this moment. How does David react?
“… But David found strength in the Lord his God.” – 1 Samuel 30:6b
I don’t have the confidence to say that I would be able to do that if I was in David’s shoes. It would be easier to focus on my current situation and shift blame. I might think to myself, “I don’t have anyone to support me or encourage me, so I give up.” Or I might want to flee this volatile experience and never turn back.
Yet somehow, even through something as tumultuous as this, David found strength in the Lord his God. How?
David was a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). In other words, David had the Lord at the forefront of his mind and wanted to please the Lord through his actions. Although David wasn’t perfect, his desire to serve the Lord was pure and he kept pursuing more of God even through his pain and problems.
When we glean through the Psalms that David wrote, we know that God was on his heart! Some were written at this point when he was running for his life and in chaos. His emotions may be all over the place, but he still gives God the glory through it all.
The primary difference between what we watch from the movies and what the Lord desires for us is this – the source of our strength. Where do we go when we are drained and depressed? When we feel like giving up or giving in? When we don’t know what to do or where to go?
Hollywood depicts a person ‘pulling up their bootstraps’ when times are tough. They don’t need help. Rather, they just need to ‘believe in themselves.’ While believing in yourself is something we might need on the surface level, that is not where our strength comes from.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
“But he (The Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
To be an overcomer, we go to the source – the Lord Jesus. We rely on Him for our strength when we are weak. He becomes the focal point of what we do, so that when the trials do come, we will naturally cling to Him for help. He will give us what we need to overcome if we come to Him first.
Therefore, how do we strengthen ourselves in the Lord to live life as an overcomer?
TO BE AN OVERCOMER, I NEED TO BE IN THE WORD CONSTISENTLY
“ His Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9
TO BE AN OVERCOMER, I NEED TO BE IN PRAYER DILAGENTLY
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” – Philippians 4:6-7
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.” – Luke 5:16
For this week, begin to reflect on your life and where you are currently at with the Lord. If you were living an overcoming life, what would that look like for you? Now imagine this – this can be your reality! What you need to do is to read the Word consistently and pray diligently. Why? That is where you’ll be drawing from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). This is your lifeline. Then when the enemy strikes… you’re ready! Make a commitment to reading or praying for this week so you can begin to get in the habit and see the fruit of the overcoming life. I look forward to hearing how you will overcome those obstacles that you were meant to have victory over.
P.S. Please watch this short video on what happens when you read your Bible 4x a week… it’s incredible!
Have a blessed week!
 The Patriots under Tom Brady lost to the Giants in both Superbowl appearances – XLII and XLVI. He seems to have a weakness against Eli Manning.